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A STRONG FAITH
(Be strong in the LORD of the future)
In 536 B.C., during the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, the prophet Daniel received his final vision from GOD, which concerned “great war and hardships” that would take place in Israel’s future. The Israelites had already begun their exodus out of Babylon back into Jerusalem, and had began to rebuild their homeland, starting with the Temple, under the leadership Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel and others, two years earlier.
GOD had earlier stirred the heart of King Cyrus and instructed him to release the Israelites so that they could go and begin the work on the temple in Judah. In addition, GOD had also stirred the hearts of HIS priests and Levites, as well as the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, to return to Judah for spiritual inspiration, financial support, and encouragement. Everyone who could, assisted the returnees by giving them silver, gold, livestock, and other supplies needed for the journey. However Daniel, probably because of his age, did not return at this time with his fellow priests.
When Daniel received his vision of war and hardship in Israel’s future, he understood clearly what it meant. In fact, he says that he had already been in mourning over it for three weeks, and had been praying and fasting the whole time (Vs.2-3). And so one day as he and some other men were standing by the banks of the Tigris River (which was known then as “Hiddekel”), he looked up and saw a man dressed in fine linen clothing with a band of pure gold around his waist. His body glowed like a dazzling gem, and from his face came flashes like lightning. He had eyes like flaming torches, and his arms and feet shone like polished bronze. Daniel also says that the man had a voice that sounded like the roaring of a great crowd of people (Vs.4-6).
In the Hebrew, the word used for “messenger” is “malak”, and it describes “one who brings news or tidings by divine order from GOD”. Actually, the figure in the vision that Daniel calls “a man in linen clothing” was more likely an angel, whom GOD had sent to ease his prophet’s mind concerning his earlier vision of war and hardship.
Daniel says in verse 7 that he was the only one who saw the vision of the messenger who appeared along the banks of the Tigris River that day, as those who were with him became frightened and ran away and hid. Daniel himself, was also overcome with fear and awe, and he fell flat down on his face when he saw this angel of GOD.
Angels are “heavenly beings” who are direct creations of GOD. They are all males (there are no female angels) of different “orders” (ranks) and “types”, who also, like man, “has wills that are free” (Genesis 3:24, Psalm 18:10, Ezekiel 1:5-14). Among the duties assigned to angels in Old and New Testament scriptures, is “to protect GOD’s people who will ultimately be “saved” (Exodus 23:20, 2 Kings 6:17, Daniel 3:28, Hebrews 1:14).
Angels also serve as agents of GOD sent to execute divine judgment on man (Genesis 19:1, 2 Samuel 24:17, Isaiah 37:36). This chapter of Daniel is perhaps the most important in all of Scriptures for those who engage in the study of “angelology”. It suggests in these pages that there is a constant “unseen spiritual battle” between those angels who chose to follow Lucifer out of Heaven, and those who chose to remain with GOD.
Depending upon the rank of the dark angel (they apparently retained their power following their mutiny against GOD), they may be able to, at least, delay the mission of an angel sent by the LORD to aid HIS people on earth. The identification of the dark angel in this passage as the “prince of Persia” indicates that the focus of the unseen spiritual battle is to control “human societies” and “governments” here on earth.
We as human beings, because most of us don’t even recognize, or believe, that there is an unseen spiritual battle between good and evil taking place here on earth, have ceded all governments, including here in the United States, over to satan without even putting up a fight. That is why we are able to submit to any Luciferic agenda, anywhere in the world, without even changing “one word” in our already existing constitutions and laws. And only true followers of the GOD in Heaven (those who stay on the lighted path that has been blazed through this dark world by CHRIST JESUS), are ultimately not affected, and will overcome this world as JESUS did.
Only strong faith and prayer on our part, and a commitment to getting to know CHRIST through HIS Word, and ultimately doing what that Word requires, will save us from ultimate defeat and self-destruction. GOD’s Word can show us how to help ourselves, and others, to fight the spiritual battle, that most people here on earth, will never even know is taking place.
To follow the world’s agenda is to follow satan. To follow GOD’s agenda is to follow CHRIST JESUS, our GREAT PIONEER, WHO is also the only human being ever to successfully overcome this world, through HIS perfect obedience to GOD. Our FATHER in Heaven absolutely holds our future in HIS hands, one way or the other, for better or for worse. We all have the “liberty” to choose to follow GOD’s agenda through CHRIST, or, to follow our own agenda, which is the same as is following satan.
When we come to rest in the thought that this life is not the final act of the human drama, and, that GOD is fully in control of all things, good and bad, it will give us the confidence we need to embark upon each day that the LORD GOD, in HIS grace, will allow us to see. We can receive divine strength from GOD, just as Daniel did here in this passage, if we, first, admit that we need GOD, then repent and humble ourselves, and finally, faithfully put our trust into HIS divine and glorious tailor-made plan for our lives, a plan which will lead us straight to “victory” and “true freedom”, that can only be found in CHRIST JESUS.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website